Important Mercersburg, PA Coin Silver Tongs by William B. Guthrie
Offered is an important and rare early American coin silver pair of sugar tongs, circa 1799-1805, by little-known Mercersburg, Pennsylvania silversmith William B. Guthrie. Guthrie's biographical information appears below. This piece is the only pair of sugar tongs and indeed the only piece other than a teaspoon that I am aware of for this maker. This early pair of Franklin County sugar tongs is quite rare and lovely. The maker's mark is well struck on each arm and the period script monogram within an oval reserve is very well executed. The tongs are in excellent condition for their age and are free of splits or repairs. This piece measures about 6 1/4 inches in length and weighs about 34 grams. All in all a fine scarce small-town Pennsylvania piece! Mr. Guthrie is well covered in Irwinton's "Crafts of Franklin County, Penna. 1784 - 1984". As that author notes, Mr. Guthrie first appears in Franklin County tax assessments in 1799 as a silversmith. He was listed as a working silversmith through 1816. In 1817 he became postmaster, and may have ceased major activity as a silversmith. Mr. Guthrie died in 1822 as a retired gentleman.